28-year-old Madolline gets to travel the world for a fraction of the cost by cat sitting.

Spending money on holiday is a given. Flights, accommodation, activities, eating out for every meal – it all starts to add up very quickly.

But Brisbane born contract worker Madolline Gourley, 28, can’t understand why we are all coughing up in the thousands for hotel rooms.

She’s barely paid a cent for accommodation for the past year and half, despite four lengthy trips abroad.

Madolline is a self proclaimed cat sitter and proud of it.

She’s stayed in brand new apartments in downtown San Francisco, and traditional clay shacks in New Mexico, completely for free.

The only catch; she has to cuddle the home-owner’s cats.

Speaking of travel; here’s how to travel with nothing but carry on. Post continues after podcast.

“It was a turning point for me,” Madolline told Mamamia of the moment she stumbled across the lifestyle.

Within a few days she had landed her first gig and now, she can’t stop. She’s babysat at about 12 different homes.

On a Christmas stay in Boulder, Madolline found herself in a secluded mountain getaway which would of set her back tens of thousands if she’d stayed there as a paying visitor.

She estimates the apartment she got to stay in in Boston would have cost about $4,000 if she’d had to pay to stay for the same amount of time.


“There’s been suburban homes, townhouses, waterfront apartments,” Madolline said. “I’m saving probably half of what I would as a paying tourist.”


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Hiii, baby Grace

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And if cats aren’t your thing, there are plenty of dog, bird, rabbit… and even plant owners, in need of live-in sitters.


“It’s a great way to see a country. It’s my fourth time overseas in June [using cat sitting]. It’s a great way to go to places you haven’t considered going as a paying tourist,” Madolline told Mamamia.

I went to Cincinnati to cat sit, which I wouldn’t have considered but I loved it and I want to go back.”

So why are we all not getting in on this whole free accommodation deal?

“One of my good friends – she travels a lot so I thought she’d be keen. I mean you can travel more often and go to different new places and it doesn’t cost you anything, but she didn’t want to have to look after someone’s pet.”

Madolline has cut her travels in half by babysitting other people's cats. Image: Supplied.

But as Madolline pointed out, cats don't exactly take a lot of work.

"Taking half an hour out of your day to look after someone's pet is not much to ask in exchange for an amazing place to stay.

"I guess it’s like AirBnb and Uber back in the day - people didn’t want to get into a stranger’s car or stay in a stranger’s bed, but now it’s normal. So maybe there’s a similar mindset with this."

At the moment, Madolline is planning a trip to America and only wants to look after cats. She has signed up to four different sitting websites.

"I might get 10 notifications a day for new listings [with those preferences ticked] there are plenty out there."

So it's not like the industry is up and coming, it's in full swing. Madolline says TrustedHousesitters is a good place to start if you're thinking about dipping a toe in. Time to get amongst it, we think.

Would you be a cat sitter in exchange for getting free accommodation? Tell us in the comments section below.